Dante's Inferno Questions and Answers
by Dante Alighieri

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What were some literary devices in Canto VIII of Dante's Inferno?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Dante loves to make the abstract concrete and uses a number of literary devices to do this, including metaphor, simile, imagery, and personification. He also uses allusion and alliteration.

In canto 7, Virgil and Dante visit the fourth circle of hell, where they encounter the people who were too fixated on money in life: the hoarders and the spendthrifts. Later, they encounter the wrathful—both the actively angry and the sullen—passive aggressors.

The love of money weighs down people's souls. Dante uses vivid imagery to make this abstract concept—of a soul weighed down—concrete. Those who squandered money in an irresponsible way must push large weights away from themselves with their chests, while those who hoarded money must push the weights towards themselves. These two groups bump and bruise each other.

A metaphor is a comparison. Most metaphors make abstract concepts concrete so that a reader can experience them with the senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and/or touch. The actions of...

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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ebyarb | Student

In Canto VIII of Dante's Inferno, one literary device used is alliteration. For example, "who are you, so fallen and so foul?" (ln. 35) and "May you weep and wail to all eternity" (ln. 37). Of course, there are purposes behind using literary devices. Alliteration is often used to add emphasis to an idea. Here, we can infer that Dante wants to emphasize how "subject to sin or depravity" (dictionary definition of "fallen") are these souls that Dante sees. Also, Dante wants to emphasize how disgusted he is with these souls in this Canto- he uses "weep" and "wail" (ln. 37) because they are stronger than "cry" or "sob." Using these two words not only produce alliteration, but emphasis on Dante's disgust with the wrathful.